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Archive for Tuesday, December 5, 2000

GHB overdose lands teens in hospital

Naismith Hall employees find pair unconscious

December 5, 2000

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Lawrence police are investigating an incident that left two men overcome by the drug GHB Sunday at a private residence hall near the Kansas University campus.

The two men were found unconscious at Naismith Hall, 1800 Naismith Drive, by hall employees. One of the young men was found in the lobby and the other in a private room, Lawrence Police and a hall official said.

Heath Schmidt, 18, Beloit, was in good condition Monday at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, hospital officials said. He was not a Naismith resident nor was he a Kansas University student, according to KU and Naismith records.

Also taken to LMH was John Loper, 18, Overland Park, a KU freshman. He was treated and released, hospital officials said.

GHB, or Gamma Hydroxybutyrate, is a depressant to the central nervous system. It can produce drowsiness, seizures and even comas.

"It's a bad drug," said Sheldon Whitten-Vile, a psychiatrist and medical director at Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center.

He said he has seen several cases in recent months involving people who have had difficulty trying to kick the GHB habit.

In severe cases, people who stopped taking the drug couldn't sleep and became delirious, Whitten-Vile said.

"It has similar effects as that of alcohol," Whitten-Vile said. "College kids can buy its ingredients off the Internet and make it."

Naismith Hall is privately owned by College Park Communities, a division of GMH Management, Newton Square, Pa. Naismith property manager Jason Olds said staff are trained to recognize drug and alcohol problems.

"The system worked and we were able to get these kids help in time," he said.

"We deal with situations that are typical of college freshmen, but usually they involve alcohol."

Lawrence Police do not know where the drug used by the two victims at Naismith originated, said Sgt. Mike Pattrick, police spokesman.

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